Insights and Commentaries
Is the world ready for carbon capture and storage?
18th October 2018
Topic(s): Capacity development, CO2 storage, Economics, Education, law and regulation, Policy
Our global ambition to avoid the serious impacts of climate change was confirmed with the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015.
To meet the objectives of the agreement, we know that CCS will require an unprecedented rate of deployment to eventually capture, transport and store between 1.8 and 6 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. The current rate is wholly inadequate with only 37 million tonnes captured, transported and stored annually.
Right now, there are 18 large-scale CCS facilities operating around the world. But it is not enough. If we want to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, we need thousands.
CCS is proven, it is safe, and it is an essential climate change mitigation technology. In addition, the emission reduction scenarios of the IPCC and IEA rely on the wide-scale, global deployment of thousands of CCS projects.
We know the problem. We have a solution. However, a key question remains: is the world ready to deploy CCS at the scale required? And if so, how does each country rank in their “readiness” to achieve this?
The complexity of these questions is explored in the Global CCS Institute’s most recent Thought Leadership reports; a series consisting of three CCS Indicator Reports and the CCS Readiness Index.
CCS Indicator Reports
Our 2018 CCS Indicator reports – the CCS Policy Indicator, CCS Legal & Regulatory Indicator and CCS Storage Indicator – utilise the Institute’s comprehensive database and analytical capability to measure the development of critical enablers of CCS deployment in up to 100 countries.
Policy Indicator (CCS-PI)
Government policy, given effect through law and the allocation of public resources, is critical to achieving climate targets. It plays a material role in determining the return on investment for any climate mitigation technology making confidence in government policy a pre-requisite of investment.
The CCS-PI tracks the development of government policy to accelerate the deployment of CCS as an essential climate mitigation technology in over 100 countries.
Whilst the report finds no nation has yet implemented policies to deploy CCS consistent with achieving climate targets agreed in Paris, six have established themselves as clear leaders and fall into Band A on the CCS-PI scale.
Legal & Regulatory Indicator (CCS-LRI)
Law and regulation remains a critical element of a government’s policy response to support the development and deployment of CCS. Robust legal and regulatory frameworks provide certainty for businesses eager to engage in innovation, and the deployment of CCS.
The CCS-LRI offers a detailed examination and assessment of national legal and regulatory frameworks in 55 countries and examines a range of legal and regulatory factors likely to be critical for the regulation of the technology.
The 2018 results reveal that over the past two years, there has been little, or no material change in the status of CCS legal and regulatory models in many jurisdictions worldwide and reveal significant opportunities for further legal and regulatory development.
Storage Indicator (CCS-SI)
The availability of storage resources is the ultimate pre-requisite for CCS deployment. For global CCS deployment, each country needs to know where, and how much, CO2 can be stored. Each nation needs to characterise, explore and appraise a national portfolio of accessible, commercially-viable storage sites ready for CCS Facilities.
The CCS-SI tracks the development of storage resources for 80 countries. The 2018 scores confirm an overall improvement since the 2015 CCS-SI with twelve nations having mature, or near-mature, storage resources to enable wide-scale CCS. The 2018 CCS-SI results confirm that the availability of storage resources is not a barrier to meeting global climate change targets.
2018 CCS Readiness Index
Collectively, the three Indicator Reports form a further, criteria-based assessment known as the CCS Readiness Index, or CCS-RI. The 2018 CCS-RI examines over 50 countries using 70 discrete criteria and enables a comparative assessment of countries globally.
Clear from the 2018 assessment is that greater effort is required to deploy CCS at the scale necessary to meet climate change mitigation ambitions.Only five countries rank in the Index’s highest category and have taken significant steps to reduce domestic barriers to CCS. Other nations also scored well in the Index and are well advanced along the path towards CCS readiness. These countries are now poised to exploit CCS to meet their national climate change ambitions however, some gaps in legislation, policy and/or storage resource development must be addressed before broad deployment can proceed.
Of concern are the countries that, though heavily dependent on fossil fuels, have done little to prepare for the deployment of CCS. They are at greatest risk of suffering significant economic damage as the imperative to reduce emissions grows.
For these countries, meeting emission reduction goals and ensuring future prosperity within a carbon-constrained world will be impossible without immediate action.